hummingbird cake

I know, I know: We’re still in a global pandemic. It’s no time for party-sized cakes. Passover is in three days and those who celebrate it don’t want to be tempted by forbidden baked goods. But it had been so long since I’d made a towering and abundantly festive layer cake and ever since spotting this hummingbird cake in Zoë François’s fantastic — like, just go buy it right now, you are in for a treat — new cookbook, Zoë Bakes Cakes, I couldn’t think about anything else. It feels forward-looking and spring-celebrational. It is deliciously warm and happy, almost defiant, planning for a brighter year ahead, no matter what the one before it looked like. And so I went all in and made a three-layer celebration cake and flung slices off with friends and neighbors and have absolutely no regrets, except for the fact that it’s gone now.

what you'll needwet ingredientsadd flour and pecansthree layersquickest cream cheese frostingsecond layerfinal layerfirst coat

This cake has a history, too. The tiny, fluttery hummingbird is the national bird of Jamaica (where it’s called the Doctor Bird), which is where this cake originated. The best-known recipe for this abundantly-moist and fragrant pineapple, banana, and pecan cake was submitted to Southern Living in 1978 by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina, and almost every rendition of the cake I’ve found follows a similar formula, because it’s clearly too good to be messed with. Zoe’s uses a little less oil, and a smidge less banana, although I added a little back. I added some allspice because I love the way it rounds things out, and use my own cream cheese frosting, with much less sugar than usual. I’ve tweaked it to make it one-bowl, and if you have a food processor, you don’t even need to bother warming up the butter and cream cheese for the frosting. I want this to be easy, because I’ve found (in blowing up group text with “who is around and hungry for a cake sample”) we could all go for a little extra joy right now and Zoë gets it, too: “A cake can turn a Tuesday into an occasion. There is no day that can’t be made better with a little slice.”

hummingbird cake
hummingbird cake

Passover-friendlier cakes: I didn’t forget. ;) Here are four of my favorite (dairy) cakes I make on Passover; each are what I consider objectively good — they’re delicious enough to eat any week of the year, whether or not you need a flourless dessert:



6 months ago: Shaved Fennel and Crushed Olive Salad
1 year ago: Carrot and White Bean Burgers
2 years ago: Extra-Billowy Dutch Baby Pancake
3 years ago: Sweet Potato Tacos
4 years ago: Pujabi-Style Black Lentils and Easiest French Fries
5 years ago: Churros, Nolita-Style Avocado Toast and Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart
6 years ago: Black-Bottom Oatmeal Pie and Potatoes with Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette
7 years ago: Broccoli, Cheddar, and Wild Rice Casserole and Double-Chocolate Banana Bread and Sizzling Chicken Fajitas
8 years ago: My Favorite Buttermilk Biscuits and Coconut Bread
9 years ago: Potato Knish, Two Ways
10 years ago: The Best Baked Spinach
11 years ago: Thick Chew Granola Bars, Arroz Con Leche, and Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs
12 years ago: Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
13 years ago: Pasta with Cauliflower, Walnuts, and Feta
14 years ago: Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

Hummingbird Cake

    Cake layers
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 ml) mild-flavored oil, such as vegetable
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mll) vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • One 8-ounce (227-gram) can crushed pineapple, do not drain
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 300 grams) chopped ripe bananas (from 2 to 3)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (optional)
  • 3 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (110 grams) pecan halves, toasted, then chopped
  • Filling and frosting
  • 2 8-ounce (226-gram) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 2/3 (325 grams) cups powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) chopped pecans (for garnish)

Make the cake layers: Heat your oven to 350°F. Coat three 9-inch round cake pans with butter or nonstick spray and line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper. Don’t have three pans? Bake the cake layers one or two at a time and leave the extra batter at room temperature while you wait to reuse the pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and salt until evenly mixed. Add the pineapple and banana and whisk to combine. Sprinkle the top of the batter with baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice, if using, and whisk them thoroughly into the batter, giving it several more stirs than seems necessary. Add the flour and nuts and stir to combine.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans — each will hold about 2 cups or 600 grams of the batter — and spread evenly using a small offset spatula. Gently tap the pans on the counter a few times to release excess air bubbles.

Bake: Cake layers until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 22 to 25 minutes. If you’re not in a rush, you can let the cakes cool completely in the pans.

Make the frosting: [Food processor instructions at the end.] In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handmixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed until it’s smooth and there are no lumps. Scrape down the bowl and paddle or beaters often. Add the butter to the cream cheese and continue mixing until smooth, scraping often. You want to make sure none of the cream cheese or butter is sticking to the paddle, or it may end up creating lumps. Mix in the vanilla and/or lemon juice, and milk. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and continue mixing until smooth.

Assemble and frost: Run a knife around the edge of the first cake layer, then flip the cake out upside-down, remove the parchment paper, and flip it back onto a serving plate. If it’s domed a lot, you might use a serrated knife to level it for more even stacking. Spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the frosting over the cake, making sure it goes all the way to the edges. Place the next cake over the frosting (again, leveling it for a more even appearance, if necessary) and top with another layer of the frosting. Repeat with the last cake layer; I like to place this one upside-down for the flattest cake top.

If desired, at this point, you could crumb-coat the cake. Coat the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of the frosting and chill the cake until the frosting is firm to the touch, 20 to 30 minutes. This will keep the crumbs of the cake from getting into the final frosting. Use remaining frosting to evenly coat the sides and top of the cake. Decorate with chopped pecans.

Serve: In wedges. Cutting the cake in a gentle sawing motion with a serrated knife will keep nuts from tearing the cake as you press down. Keep leftovers in the fridge. If you have time before serving it, letting the cake warm up at room temperature for 30 minutes before makes the texture even more plush.

A few notes:
Nuts: The cake contains chopped pecans. I know nuts in cakes are divisive and you’re welcome to skip them or replace them with an equal weight of dried, flaked coconut. For the best flavor and crunch, toast and cool your nuts before using them.

Food processor frosting: If you have a food processor, you can start with cold cream cheese and butter, cut into cubes. First add the sugar and salt to the food processor work bowl, followed by the butter. Blend until the butter and sugar is fully mixed — look for finely minced and beginning to clump. Add the cream cheese and blend until it’s fully mixed; you’ll want to scrape down the bowl a couple times to avoid clumps of unmixed cream cheese. Add the milk or cream and vanilla and blend until very smooth.

Scaling this down: This, and all 9-inch round cakes, i.e. the overwhelming majority of SK cakes, halve neatly in 6-inch cake pans, making an absolutely adorable smaller-scale layer cake. I think you should treat yourself to a set of 6-inch cake pans. They’re fairly inexpensive, especially given the joy they yield. Bake 6-inch cakes at the same temperature, and start checking for doneness after the halfway point in the baking time.

– You can also scale this down to a thin one-layer party cake (like we make here and here), using 1/3 of everything. You can bake it in a single 8- or 9-inch round or 8-inch square.

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188 comments on hummingbird cake

    1. Lis

      It looks beautiful and must taste delicious, though extremely sweet. If this is the lesser sugar version (with a whopping 735, almost a whole kilo of sugar!😱) I shudder to think what the full sugar version would be like. It would put even a non diabetic in a coma! The bananas and canned pineapple are already sweet enough. You can use less than half all that sugar and it would still taste good. 🤷🏻‍♀️

        1. Dyann

          Long time reader here so I’m totally shocked that I did not check this site before I made my husband’s birthday cake last week. We shared this enormous and impressive treat with another couple, which we each enjoyed and talked about for several days. It actually improved with refrigeration and over time!

          Not to confuse things here but I used a different recipe from the Carlsbad Cravings site. She answers tons of questions about making the cake. I haven’t compared the recipes yet but there are some differences, the most notable being reducing the moisture from the crushed pineapple before adding it. Also she uses pineapple jam in the cream cheese frosting. I couldn’t find any so I made my own. I have to say that the addition of it was amazing! I also used avocado oil which worked great.

          I’m sure Zoe’s recipe & Deb’s rendition are fabulous! Now I need to find an excuse to make it for comparison sake. I recently made Zoe’s Pavlova, having been inspired by her IG video. It was gorgeous and delicious!

      1. Buttercup

        Thank you, your comment made me laugh. I don’t think you were trying to insult Zoe in the least. You put a smile on my face, 🤣😉.

      2. Kate

        Hummingbird cake comes from the land of sweet tea, and named for something that feeds on sugar water. It is always possible to have a small piece and share out the rest of the cake.

      3. Elizabeth

        This sort of comment puzzles me. Sure, it begins with a compliment, but then it quickly pivots to horror at the amount of sugar in, well, um, a cake. Not roasted broccoli or crusty French bread, where sugar would be pretty surprising, but a cake. It’s not like Deb advertised it as a low-sugar cake. I doubt anyone is eating the whole cake alone anyway, nor is it likely anyone is making this on the daily. I just don’t get the purpose of the comment.

      4. Hasana

        You can safely cut out 1/2 C of sugar. I cut 25% it in most cake recipes, with no problem. (I did so with the Grammercy gingerbread on this site, which was still one of the best cakes I have ever tasted.) Also, my favourite frosting is 1/2 block of cream cheese, 1/4 c of sugar, and 1 (or more) cup of whipped cream. Lots of fat but not much sugar. You can add orange or lemon zest or vanilla or any extract you want. I am a dessert person, but I don’t like things too sweet. It is a problem for cookies, which really need the sugar for structure. For cakes, quick breads, and muffins, it is not a problem to reduce a bit.

  1. sallyt

    ZOE is the best! I’ve been reading her blog for years and years and she’s so fantastic. She’s also the co-author of one of my favorite books, Holiday and Celebration Bread in 5 minutes a Day. The babka is so easy and wonderful.

      1. Jen

        I’ve most often been using combos of nutmeg, cardamom, cloves or allspice, and occasionally some ginger. For something like this cake, though, I’m dubious about the cardamom. Boy do I miss cinnamon sometimes.

  2. JP

    Could you make cupcakes with this recipe, and if so, to get 12, which amount of ingredients would you use? Hummingbird cake means springtime is on the way!
    Yay! Thank you for the inspiration…cake is always such a happy thing!

  3. Jackie

    I think this just got added to my Easter menu! When do the nuts get added to the cake batter? I just added those 6 inch pans to my cart…..

  4. Jessamy

    I love hummingbird cake, thank you for another version to try! If I wanted coconut AND pecans, could I just add some coconut? Or would I need a little more oil/eggs/banana?

    1. Stephanie

      I halved the pecans to 55 g and added 55 g of toasted coconut. It was a great decision. ;)
      (I actually toasted all 110 g of pecans, but reserved half and used them to garnish the top.)

  5. karen

    Hummingbird cake was a staple in my family but I so rarely see it out in the larger world. So it’s lovely to see a Deb version of it here. And to learn that it originated in Jamaica – I had no idea.

  6. Jen

    That looks incredible. I do have one question, though, that applies to Hummingbird Cake and other recipes. I, most unfortunately, and deathly allergic to cinnamon. (I know, I know.) Deb, is there a spice combo you would recommend as a replacement? I’ve been playing with it for years now and have yet to find the right balance. Too much cardamom is a recipe wrecker, it turns out.

    1. deb

      I looked it up and I apparently bought it in 2011 from “Martha Stewart Collection” at Macys — called the “optic cake stand.” I don’t see it anymore but I bet someone else makes it or something close.

      1. S

        I love it! I have an almost identical cake plate and matching dessert plates that belonged to my great grandmother and yours caught my eye immediately.

  7. Sarah

    I am looking forward to making this. As for giant party cakes during a pandemic – I have made two and frozen them and thoroughly enjoyed cutting myself fresh slices of cake whenever the mood hits! I imagine this cake would freeze well too?

      1. Andrea

        Wondering if a gluten-free flour (like Bob’s 1:1) would be successful here? This cake calls ‘Spring’ and would love to make it for a mixed gluten/gf Easter this weekend! Thank you 🙏

    1. deb

      For this, you could use just 1 egg + 1 yolk, or you could be more precise and scramble the second egg, pouring in half (eyeballing it would be just fine). Save the second half for a future egg wash, or I do.

  8. Rachel

    Love hummingbird cake and can’t wait to try this version. For the nut dubious, if you chop the toasted nuts very fine and mix them well with a couple heaping teaspoons of flour (from the measurement the recipe calls for – it’s important to keep the total grams of flour the same), you get all the flavor without the texture issues. The flour helps keep them well distributed in the batter.

  9. Elizabeth

    Aw, my fourth-generation Texan grandmother requested that I make a hummingbird cake (the old-school Southern Living recipe) for her 99th birthday party 2 years ago. It was a beautiful cake and it looked a lot like this one, Deb, except I used whole pecans on top. She passed away this past year. Hummingbird cakes will always make me think of happy memories of her. Can’t wait to try this one.

  10. JP

    I guess 2/3’s of this would also make a 9″x13″…I have two of those- I also own one 9″ layer and one 6″ layer. Really, I am sorry to say I am rather cake pan dyslexic, I am afraid (not meaning to use the term dyslexic to injure anyone who has the real thing!) so instructions for a 9″x 13″ would come in handy for those of us where practical is a bit more important than pretty. Thanks!

  11. Marali

    I’ve been fascinated with humming bird cakes but am allergic to bananas. Can I leave them out? Or substitute another fruit?

    1. Tracy

      I would consider substituting carrots instead of banana. I find carrot cake and banana bread have some similarities. You might need more a little more moisture/liquid with carrots.

      1. Sara L.

        Hi, I’m thinking of making this for my little guy’s first birthday cake. It seems like there is a lot of sugar in the cake part. Do you think I could omit some or do you think 2 cups is necessary for it to work? Sounds delicious and looks lovely!

        1. Hasana

          I don’t think you will have a problem if you cut out 1/2 a cup. Given the banana and pineapple, you might even go to 1 plus 1/4 cup. I wouldn’t go lower than that, though. Cream cheese frosting doesn’t need much sugar at all for its structure (unlike butter cream). I like about 1/4 c. It would be a great kids cake, I think.

  12. alison

    I usually make myself a big birthday cake every year, but am usually able to have people over to enjoy it together. This year I still made a big cake, but just dropped slices off at my friends’ houses and enjoyed some 6ft porch chat instead! I’m sure there are plenty of neighbors to enjoy this party sized cake from a safe distance!

  13. Nytasha

    My mama would make a version with coconut. To decorate, she would lightly dry out thinly sliced pineapple rings in the oven and squeeze them a bit from the center to make flowers that she would cover the cake with. Looking forward to trying this version.

  14. Kim

    This is my favorite cake in the world; the first time I had it was in April 1972 on my 12th birthday. My mother made it, but I don’t think it had the name Hummingbird cake. (My sister still laughs about the fact that I loved cakes like that, not chocolate). My mother is long gone, died way too young, but I rediscovered this cake at a little natural foods store that grew and grew and later became Whole Foods. I was there with my baby (now 33) and bought a slice of this “Hummingbird cake.” When I took my first bite, I was transported back in time to that unforgettable 12th birthday cake that mother had made from scratch. All our birthday cakes were homemade. My mother never used mixes of any kind, which was unusual back then. I am thrilled to have this recipe. My 61st birthday is next week ( even though I am only 30 in my mind!). I know what I am making! It’s been a long year and I live alone, so this will make my day. Thank you, Deb, for this lovely recipe.

    1. Madz

      Something about this comment made me want to reach out and give you a (virtual) hug Kim. Happy birthday to you! I hope you recreate the hummingbird cake of your dreams and have a great day :)

    2. Jukabuka

      I agree with Madz. Something about this comment makes me want to say hi and hugs! Have a wonderful birthday and cake Kim!

        1. Kate

          My son’s first birthday is this weekend, and we’re attempting to incorporate his favorites into our teeny, outdoor, party plan – he loves “nanah!” and pineapple, so this cake will be perfect for covid-safe cupcakes! Would these freeze/defrost alright without totally tanking the texture? I’m trying to plan ahead and not have a ton of prep to do the night before(:

          1. deb

            The cake will freeze beautifully but the frosting might be a little weird. Best to defrost or partially defrost and then frost, then leave in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a few hours to finish defrosting.

  15. Kate

    You recommend a neutral-flavored oil, but I don’t like using vegetable oil. Given the tropical fruit flavors, why not encourage them with coconut oil? Thoughts?

    1. Jess

      I’ve tried making the Southern Living version of this cake with butter instead of oil and it wasn’t nearly as good. My hypothesis was that a solid fat like butter (or coconut oil) changed the crumb structure for the worse. I went back to canola oil the next time and it was perfect.

      1. Barbara

        Vegetable oils are unhealthful and canola is probably the worst of them. I use either walnut oil or macadamia nut oil in baked goods and have never had a failure.

    2. Amy

      I would recommend against the coconut oil; the neutral flavored oil keeps the cake moist and the crumb fine. I don’t use canola oil in any other way but for this cake it is essential. You could always add some flaked coconut to the pecans in the cake, or even add it to the frosting if you’re after that flavor. (Or just make a coconut cake with pineapple filling and 7 minute frosting, another Southern staple!)

    3. deb

      You’re welcome to use coconut oil and I’m sure some would be good here, if you’re okay with a coconut flavor. Neutral oils make for very moist cakes.

    4. Lindsay

      Hi, I feel the same way about the standard vegetable oils so I have switched to either light extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil in baking. I bake a lot and have never had an issue. In fact, I made this cake last week for a 12 person dinner party. I ended up being low on both of the above oils, so I used half walnut and half light olive oil! It was delicious, got rave reviews and was devoured (12 scraped clean plates and a few people had seconds!). There was no taste from either oil – in fact in the 3 or so years I’ve been using them exclusively, I’ve never had a taste issue. Hope this helps!!

  16. Carol Surine

    I love the idea of this cake, but I loathe bananas. Do you suppose I could substitute a different fruit? Pears, perhaps? Since there’s 1.5 cups of banana, I doubt that can simply be left out.

    1. deb

      I think you could use most of that volume in another soft ingredient, like applesauce, possibly carrots + applesauce, or carrots + buttermilk.

  17. Marceo

    Dreamy cake! One question: since I can only get pineapple slices or chunks, could you tell me the drained weight of your can? So that I can replicate the right proportions while turning my slices/chunks to crush. Thanks!

    1. deb

      You don’t want to drain it — I’d finely chop the pineapple you have, keep the juices, and weigh out 8 ounces. It was about 1 liquid cup.

      1. Marceo

        Thank you Deb! Actually I did not mean to drain it, but I suspect the fruit/juice ratio could be different in crushed vs. slices or chunks. This is why I asked for the drained weight – to understand how much juice I would have to add back to the crushed slices – I hope this is not too confusing…

        1. deb

          Ah, sorry for the confusion. I did not, unfortunately, check the drained weight but I’d estimate it was 3/4 pineapple bits and 1/4 juice.

    1. deb

      The cake stand was purchased in 2011 from “Martha Stewart Collection” at Macys — called the “optic cake stand.” I don’t see it anymore but I bet someone else makes it or something close.

  18. Jan

    I too would like to say Happy Birthday to Kim! Sharing any sort of baking, especially cake, and especially now, in our current circumstances, is the right thing to do! I made my Mom’s fruitcake recipe in November, to keep me in supply all year… and I shared a portion with a friend and neighbour who was transported by the gesture… Fruitcake lovers are a special group! This hummingbird cake recipe looks delicious and shares some of the elements of fruitcake.. although nothing can “top” a cake topped with cream cheese icing….

    1. Kim

      Thank you! And I LOVE fruitcake. And so does my sister and aunt. We are all in “the club”! And then there’s is a sister cake to the fruitcake, which may be peculiar to Middle Tennessee, blackberry jam cake. My recipe comes from my great grandmother, so it must be over 100 years old. I don’t want to do the math, lol, I wish you could share your fruitcake recipe. I have lost my grandmother’s.

  19. Amy

    Growing up in the south this cake was ubiquitous at holiday family gatherings. I did not know it was named after the Doctor Bird, though- and I would encourage everyone to google this specific type of hummingbird with its long forked tail (the link in the info above shows the typical hummingbirds found in the US). It’s super cute! And delightful to watch when visiting Jamaica.

  20. Lori

    I just made the hummingbird cake in the form of cupcakes. I substituted avocado oil for vegetable oil because that’s all I had. I baked in paper cups for 25 minutes and it made 26 cupcakes. I also used half coconut and half pecans. They look scrumptious! Thank you for the recipe.

    1. Lori

      Also, I made the frosting as stated. The recipe calls for 2 tbsp of milk which I didn’t use. I assume that was if the frosting was too dry? I don’t see it used in the recipe

      1. Nancy Letkeman

        I didn’t use it either—and thank goodness, as icing was too sloppy as it was. I dont know why as I was very careful with measuring. Had to add much more icing sugar to have something I could work with but still not a great consistency. Hopefully will taste okay tonight—I have it in the fridge.

  21. Tracy

    Ooooooo! My grandmother used to make hummingbird cake! This goes into the queue. I have two small 5″ cake pans, I wonder if the 1/3 recipe would work in those…

  22. Cara

    Oh man, I saw this and thought “Easter cake sorted” before I remembered my little niece is very allergic to pineapple. Before I give up on the idea entirely, does anyone have an idea for another fruit that would work for a Hummingbird Cake riff? What if I crushed peaches?

  23. awads

    I’ve been making this cake for 1000 years. There is a sheetpan version that’s even simpler, and feels slightly less decadent (if you aren’t into decadence).

  24. Julia Lundman

    I’ve not made this cake yet. I wanted to comment that this recipe really reminds me of the Old Witch Nut Cake recipe. Similar, but with pumpkin and all the spices and the same frosting. Can’t believe I haven’t made a hummingbird cake yet!

  25. Laura

    My baking doesn’t usually involve cakes but I am looking forward to making this one to celebrate the hummingbird nest outside our living room window that we’ve had the pleasure of watching her build and lay eggs and those eggs hatch.
    And of course one must have a plan for how we will use the cake, so I will share it with neighbors :-)

  26. Jeannie

    I was wondering why you add the baking soda and spice to the wet ingredients instead of incorporating them into the flour first? Does it change the texture of the cake?

    1. K

      I can’t speak for Deb, but I can tell you that I started using this method several years ago when I realized that it allowed me to stop using a second bowl to whisk together dry ingredients – and to stop worrying whether I was completely incorporating the dry stuff that appears in the smallest quantities. Now I can just concentrate on incorporating the flour in the most suitable way for the type of recipe.

    2. Rachel

      Also can’t speak for Deb, but adding the spices and BS first lets them be thoroughly whisked in, and then the flour can be more gently folded so you don’t get too much gluten formation and tougher cake.

  27. Elisabeth

    This looks and sounds delicious!
    I don’t have crushed pineapple but would love to use fresh. Is that possible for this recipe or would it not contain enough moisture?
    Maybe about 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple?

    1. deb

      I’d finely chop it — maybe 3/4 cup — and then add 1/4 cup pineapple juice, or if you don’t have, another juice, and if you don’t have juice, then water. :)

  28. Aurora

    Deb Wins Again! I made the cake as written however I do not care for ultra rich frosting. I used a half cup of butter and 1/4 cup of cream cheese. Increased the powdered sugar to 3- 1/2 cups and thinned it with milk to spread ability. It was fantastic.

  29. cindy

    Would it work to switch out the oil to ¼ c oil & ¾ c unsweetened applesauce? I do this in my carrot cake to cut down on fat – come to think of it, I do it in almost all my recipes – doesn’t seem to hurt & nobody can tell ;)

  30. Emily

    Chag Pesach Sameach Deb! Sending love to everyone who cannot celebrate with their family and friends this year. This cake looks amazing and I think you’ve convinced me to buy Zoë’s book, which I’ve been eyeing for a while! At this point in the pandemic every day is worthy of something festive and delicious, in my opinion :)

    1. deb

      I had actually tried to do cute little circles all over with a cookie cutter but absolutely did not plan well and these rings were hiding it, lol. But you can use a toothpick to draw the circles, if you want to be more careful. I just sprinkled them on with my fingers.

  31. Lamia

    This cake is an absolute stunner. Sooo good and a way more interesting way to use up too-ripe bananas than banana bread (not slamming banana bread, I’ve just made a lot since the pandemic started). I scaled the sugar down slightly since my bananas were extremely ripe, and I added a drop of almond extract and squeeze of orange to my cream cheese frosting, which gave it a delicate floral sweetness that went well with the bananas and pineapple. Thanks for a great recipe!

  32. Bekah

    Deb- thanks for the recipe!! Making it now- when do we add the milk/heavy cream to the frosting? Is that supposed to be on the ingredient list? Thanks!

  33. Soña Garcia

    I made this after dinner tonight for tomorrow’s Sunday lunch and I sure hope there’s some left by then… comes together so easily and is absolutely delicious. I used half the batter for a 6” three layer cake and the rest in cupcakes. The frosting is delicious but it’s already hot enough in Texas that it went in and out of the fridge frequently to avoid having my layers slide all over. I may have slightly over baked the cupcakes but it makes them slightly more muffin like and therefore breakfast appropriate!

    1. poppyxcheska

      I hope this helps– I baked mine with toasted sliced almonds and it was delicious. I think pecans and walnuts lend a stronger flavor and aroma? The sliced almonds didn’t add much in terms of flavor and aroma, but texture.

  34. Deb Cronin

    Hummingbird cake is just about the best cake ever invented! I used to make it often before, well, age + carb restriction. If I made it now I could probably have a 1/2″ sliver. Small cupcakes might be possible, but ya know, a slice of a layer cake has a textural thing that cupcakes can’t have. Hmmmmmm you got me thinking about a cake-slice give-away……

  35. Lillian

    Woohoo! A beautiful, light, and airy cake I made for my grandmother’s birthday. This cake seemed so very fitting for a grandma birthday! I over-toasted my pecans at 350F for 12 minutes and redid them at 8 minutes instead and they turned out perfect.

  36. Made this cake yesterday and I LOVE it! I did add a cup of flaked coconut because we’re pretty coconut crazy in our house, and it came out well. I also included the allspice.

    I’m far too lazy to frost layer cake unless it’s a special occasion, so I split the cake into four 3-cup bundt pans. Three for the freezer and one for me!

  37. poppyxcheska

    Hi! Made this last night. Only changes for cake: reduced sugar in cake by 50g, subbed pecans for sliced almonds (only thing I had, at midnight) & baked it in a 9×13” pyrex for 25 min. It was an absolute delight! My husband, who doesn’t like banana bread, called it “dangerous”. Could not explain why, but surmises might be the chunks of pineapple. I think it’s the mix of cinnamon & allspice.

    My questions are about the icing. I halved the icing recipe (liquids & solids) and used a mini cuisinart blender. I also used reduced fat cream cheese.

    I used both milk and the optional lemon juice. I figured the extra 5ml of lemon juice wouldn’t make it too runny. I made sure to take my time blending the cream cheese & butter together to avoid lumps. Cream cheese was out-of-fridge cold, butter was room temp to facilitate blending. However, 1) the icing was still runny, even after putting in the fridge to cool and firm up; 2) the icing seemed “curdled”, as if the lemon juice curdled the milk.

    Any suggestions on why this happened? I tried adding additional 15g (ie 30g for full recipe) of icing sugar, and the lumps became more pronounced. I mean, it’s delicious, but really ugly, like smooth but curdled yoghurt. I don’t think it’s because of the reduced-fat cream cheese?

    Would really appreciate some trouble-shooting so I learn from this!

    PS: the salt quantity is missing from the recipe and steps, but is mentioned in the notes. I found that it did need a pinch of salt.

    1. Jo

      The lumps are almost definitely from using cold cream cheese, esp if you added more sugar and the lumps became more pronounced. For most recipes using cream cheese, that is why the recommendation is to take it out of the fridge to warm up! I know from experience… :p

    2. deb

      I have never used reduced fat cream cheese for frosting, so I cannot say for sure whether that was the culprit. But, if the lumps taste like cream cheese, it simply didn’t blend enough. The frosting is on the soft side because I use less sugar, it’s not an issue on this (or any cake) for me because it still sticks fine.

    3. Amanda

      Following up for anyone else who is thinking about using substitutions for the frosting — I am pretty confident runny frosting is a result of using reduced-fat cream cheese.

      I used one block of regular cream cheese and one block of neufchatel/reduced-fat cream cheese, which is what I had on hand. Not a gamble I usually make with a cake for company, but was feeling bold (whoops!). I didn’t even add the lemon juice or milk — just the vanilla — because I worried it would be thinner. Mine was, indeed, still too runny to hold well. After refrigerating, it improved, but is still not the consistency needed.

      It’s still fabulously delicious, and is clinging to the fabulously delicious cake layers, but doesn’t have the right structure to hold well or look particularly presentable. Luckily, chopped pecans help cover a multitude of sins.

      I’ll make this again (and again) but will use full-fat cream cheese next time, as directed :)

  38. Power13

    So, I have somehow ended up with a plethora of 8″ cake pans and no 9″ers. Do you happen to have an idea of what the proper depth of batter in the pan is, so I can fill them to the right amount? Or would it be better to just damn the torpedoes and still split the batter three ways, and bake them a little longer?

    1. deb

      I should have mentioned that Zoe originally calls for 8″ in the book but I find more readers have 9″, so I tested it thusly. In short: Absolutely feel free to use 8-inch! It totally works. Cake is a little taller and each layer might take a few more minutes to bake.

  39. Jacklyn Francis

    I have made banana cakes and carrot cakes with cream cheese icing for years. This icing is hands down my favourite, and I will be adopting it as my go-to cream cheese icing going forward. It’s so much less sugar than the recipe I have been using, but it’s even more delicious….. Amazing. The cake is also stellar! Also, I substituted a one for one Gluten Free flour, and it was still perfect.

  40. Nicole

    Deb! Thank you for this. Would you recommend subbing some (half?) of the white sugar for brown? Or is the cake too moist already? Love the extra flavor from brown sugar, but don’t want a mess on my hands!

  41. Hadilly

    What a yummy cake! I halved the sugar for both frosting and cake. Next time, I would add another 50 gr for the cake I think.

    I had to adjust the batter weight accordingly.

    I also, and I know I am being one of THOSE posters, didn’t have any canned pineapple, so weighed out frozen, defrosted and chopped it.

    I love the pineapple in this cake with the nuts. Add in the frosting, and it is a lot of lovely textures.

    It’s a great frosting. I have always liked the tang of a cream cheese frosting.

  42. Dawn

    Asking for a check on the powdered sugar amount. While reading through your
    recipe, I noticed powdered sugar is 2 and 2/3 cup to 16oz. of cream cheese and 8oz. of butter for the frosting. This seems like a small amount of sugar for the amount of fat called for. Could you please verify this? I would normally make a recipe before I asked any questions, but I am planning this for Easter dinner.

  43. Kelsey Lane

    I love reading Deb’s blog recipes they are fun! Sure there are a ton of cake recipes…kind of like fritters ;)…but there is an extensive range of options. And the pictures are gorgeous. So I’m thankful.

  44. Jennifer

    I’m going to make this for Easter, which is also my sister’s birthday this year, since we are able to have a small, fully-vaccinated get-together. What can I do today (48 hours out)? Make the cake, but not frost? Store at room temperature or in fridge? Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    1. deb

      You can do it all 48 hours in advance. Cake should keep well in the fridge. Bring it out 30 minutes to an hour before serving for more softness.

  45. Bianca

    Long time follower, first time poster. I had to comment to say that the food processor method for making the cream cheese frosting is genius – this is the smoothest result I’ve ever had! I cut the recipe in half and made them in 6 inch pans with good success. We had just sliced up a fresh pineapple so I used that along with some of its juice. Would definitely make again!

  46. Lisa

    Currently frosting mine for tomorrow and I am grateful to you as always for such enticing ideas! One quick note – I think the stand mixer instructions for the frosting left out the milk/cream…

  47. Claire

    I have two 9-inch pans so baked two 2-cup layers first as directed. My third layer was much thicker than the first two so next time I would make the layers 2 1/3 cups each or maybe even 2 1/2. I did use 3 bananas which likely contributed to the volume I got.
    Thanks for the recipe, it was a lovely cake. Looked just like yours 😀

  48. Jackie

    This cake was the star of our Easter lunch today! I left the pecans out of the batter but did put them in the filling between layers and all over the frosting. I know I will be making this over and over

  49. Emalee

    I made this is 4 8 inch rounds, and those turned out great. I didn’t use nuts, followed both cake and frosting recipes to a T and my 3 year old loved it, but it was underwhelming to me. Maybe it was just my mood though, because it turned out perfectly, was easy to to make, the flavors are great.

  50. Lola

    This turned out perfectly. I made 1/3 of the recipe and baked it in a 9” round pan, no other modifications. What a wonderful treat!

  51. Leah Tolosa Croucher

    Glad to report this was a hit at Easter dinner. I divided it by 3 and baked it in a tall 6 inch baking pan. It took about an hour (lost count of the multiple times I had to put it back in the oven) to finish baking. Divided into to two 6 inch pans would probably shorten baking time. Anyways, it came out really moist and wonderful. I used fresh pineapple for the cake and no bananas so I had to adjust the total weight of fruit. I also caramelized pineapple for the filling. I had no pecans so I used cashews. I’ve been having some bad luck with cakes lately so this is a nice win!

  52. Eileen W.

    I second the suggestion of Deb’s for 6″ pans. We’re a 2-person household and they are great to avoid a cake glut (is that possible?). I have 2 heights–2″ and 3″. Made a mini Sacrapantina for Easter and the genoise liked the stability of the 3″ so much I could slice it into three 1″ layers. Don’t ask about the maiden voyage of the zabaglione/whipped cream filling.

  53. Joanie

    I made this cake as written using 3 x 6″ round cake tins. The cake looked adorable at this size, and tasted absolutely amazing. I found that the smaller cake took the same amount of time to cook as the instructions indicated for the 9″ round cake tins, but my gas oven is terribly unreliable, so I’d say just keep an eye on it. The icing was a little thin, but firmed up nicely after being refrigerated. I’ll make this again and again, great recipe.

  54. Aaron and Susannah

    Had this at our small, vaccinated Easter gathering with family. It was a huge hit. Very moist. We used an actual pineapple instead of canned and a little less sugar in the frosting and it was still fantastic, moose, and decadent.

  55. Fleur

    This cake looks wonderful!
    One question: If I want to make this over two days, can I bake the cakes first, let them cool down completely then store them in the fridge until the next day, when I’ll make the frosting and assemble the cake?
    Thanks a lot Deb!

  56. Rachel

    I’ve wanted to try Hummingbird for FOREVER! I want to halve the recipe though and make a six inch cake, would I do two eggs or one?

    1. Fleur

      I saw that question being asked above (I’m planning to make the 6inch cake too) and Deb answered you can use one egg + one yolk.

      1. Rachel

        Thanks! I was waiting for my post to appear so I could reply to myself that I should have read the comments BEFORE posting the question! I cannot WAIT to make this tomorrow!

  57. Isory

    Tasty and moist cake, easy to make, pretty to look at. For me the nuts in the batter add a nice texture. We halved the sugar in both the batter and the frosting, and like this it was to our liking. The texture of the frosting did not seem to suffer, though we did not add the suggested milk or cream.

  58. Elizabeth

    Is the milk/cream in the frosting meant to be optional? It isn’t mentioned in the regular instructions, so I was wondering if it was maybe a bit of extra spreadability insurance for the food processor method. (I left mine out because, well, out of sight, out of mind — and it turned out fine. With the reduced sugar, I had zero issues, and it spread beautifully.)

    1. deb

      Whoops, that was a typo. I am often fine without it but the recipe was intended with it. If yours worked fine, no worries. It can make it a little easier to spread.

  59. Janet

    Under make the frosting, there’s nothing about when to salt & milk/cream. I added at the end but maybe needs to be updated?

  60. JP—Seattle

    Does anyone know if this could be baked in a loaf pan, and if so, what adjustments would be needed? I realize it’s annoying when people ask how to change recipes, but I would love a loaf of this if anyone has ideas. Thanks!

  61. Laura

    I made this for the first time tonight for a joint May birthday party. It was amazingly good but, I feel I personally will like it better as cupcakes. Incredibly moist and flavorful without being overpowering. And the frosting – OMG!! I didn’t add nuts to the cake, only to decorate he top.

  62. LindyO

    Deb, Made this the other day and it was delicious. A huge hit at a gathering where everyone thought, Hummingbird what? Only made two layers for ease. Plan to go all in with three layers for Thanksgiving as a pandemic showstopper. We are all due. Thanks for sharing.

  63. Georgia

    How should I modify the recipe and/or bake time to use a Bundt pan – ie no layers. I grew up with that version but can’t find the recipe. Thanks!

  64. Jeanne C

    Baked this over the weekend for my daughter’s first birthday. Skipped the pecans and used veg oil, but otherwise used ingredients as written. I did two 6″ rounds (filled with 300 grams of batter each) then made the rest into cupcakes, which got us 14. Cake was as moist as others have said and got rave reviews. LOVE that it’s a one bowl cake because I would have made it anyway, but will always appreciate less dishes.

    For the cream cheese frosting, I used the food processor and got to the step where the (cold) butter is added to the powdered sugar and it spewed dots of powdered sugar all over my kitchen. In a fit of Baking Rage I threw it away and went with my tried and true ATK food processor cream cheese frosting recipe. ATK’s recipe, for anyone interested, is one 8oz cream cheese brick (softened but still cool), 5T unsalted butter (also softened but still cool), 1T sour cream, and 2t vanilla extract whirred in the food processor until smooth. Add 1.25C powdered sugar and process until combined.